According to Polish myth, a mother cat was crying by the river as her kittens had fallen in and would drown. The reeds felt so sorry for her, they grew down to the water to allow her babies to climb out over them. After that day those reeds grow a velvety blooms as soft as kitten fur, called Pussy Willow. See the DM Cat Collection.
In fact, Mothers' Day celebrations date back to ancient Greece where Rhea, the mother of all gods, was honoured at a springtime feast. But the maternal image celebrated by the ancient Greeks was not a cuddly mummy tucking you into bed with a hot cocoa - no, Rhea is a fiercely protective mother flanked by lions.
And fearless protection is exactly what Rhea's son Zeus needed as an infant. She hid her youngest baby to stop his father swallowing him, which is what he'd done with their other children to prevent them from overthrowing him (as he'd done with this father - familial relations were not harmonious to say the least!). Of course, when he grew up, overthrowing his father is exactly what Zeus did, but not before he'd made dad spit out his siblings. See the DM Collection Lion.
Now-a-days, the protective, fearsome mother is described as a 'tiger mom' - unrelentingly strict matriarch demanding ever higher grades and achievement from her offspring. Few mums are really this extreme, but we all know there's a point beyond which you don't mess with your mum! See the DM Collection Tiger.
The mother hen is one of the most popular images of maternity - a large brood of fluffy chicks trailing after her. Folk tales about the red hen illustrate the value of hard work: the hen asks all the animals in the farm yard to help her gather grain for bread. None will assist her, until it comes to eating the bread. But then she says 'if any would not work, neither should he eat'. A true motherly moral if ever there was! And most mothers would agree, there's certainly hard work involved in bringing up all those little chicks. See the DM Collection Red Hen.
Images © Daniel Mackie
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The earliest depictions of the use of the heart symbol is believed to derive from the ancient culture of Cyrene, a North African city which was founded by the Greeks in 631 BC, and then later ruled by the Romans.
There’s a lot of ancient mythical beasts which seem pretty isolated, unique to a country’s culture, or even to a specific region. Others, like mermaids, dragons, and giants, are intercultural, being known by many. The Phoenix is one of these mythical superstars, and was known by the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, and even by the Chinese.
In the year 1500 BC, the Israelites who had settled in Egypt had significantly grown in numbers. So much so that the Pharaoh at the time grew fearful of them: paranoid that they would eventually take over. Forgetting that it was actually an Israelite by the name of Joseph - yes, the guy with the groovy coat - who had guided the Egyptian people away from famine a few hundred years earlier, the Pharaoh made all the Israelites slaves. Things then took a most heinous turn when the Pharaoh ordered the midwives to drown all male Hebrew babies at birth.